VIDEO: Deputy Steve Cox, 15 other fallen law enforcers honored with new King County Sheriff’s Office memorial

December 2nd, 2016 at 12:24 pm Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | 1 Comment »

(WCN photos/video)

That’s the plaque for King County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Cox on the new memorial KCSO just dedicated for the 16 law enforcers it has lost in the line of duty. Deputy Cox, the White Center community leader who was killed 10 years ago today, is the most recent, but, Sheriff John Urquhart warned somberly, won’t be the last.

The short ceremony in the jury room at the King County Courthouse downtown this morning also acknowledged the sad coincidence that this event, long in the works, comes as the state mourns a Tacoma police officer killed in the line of duty this week. After the ceremony, everyone moved to the courthouse lobby outside the Sheriff’s Office, with fallen officers’ family members in the front row for the unveiling:


Family members had been given roses as they entered the ceremony, and many were placed below the memorial before they left:

We also recorded video of the ceremony at which Sheriff Urquhart and King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn spoke.

ADDED FRIDAY NIGHT: Here’s that video:

And here’s the official KCSO news release about today’s event: Read the rest of this entry »

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: Shelter, encampment, memories…

December 2nd, 2016 at 8:38 am Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news | No Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

This month’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting included discussions of two separate and very different plans to house people experiencing homelessness. Here are last night’s highlights:

SHELTER UPDATE: As reported here Wednesday, the King County shelter plan for the ex-Public Health building at 8th SW/SW 108th has changed, after weeks of work with a community task force. Mark Ellerbrook from King County and Marty Hartman from Mary’s Place came to talk about the new “family shelter” plan.

“We’ve got some steps to go through first,” Ellerbrook said, especially regarding revising the permit application “as quickly as we can … so we can make any chances in the building that we need to make.” He addressed a topic that we asked him about yesterday; “our need for shelter for single adults has not gone down,” but, “if you look at the Highline School District specifically, at least 74 homeless students – living in cars or in a tent under a bridge, and trying to go to school, make a go of it … from about 36 families.” That number is dynamic and changes, he noted. He reiterated that they plan a “large community meeting” in January.

Hartman showed a video about her organization and said its dream has been that no child would have to sleep unsheltered, but they’re not there yet, and hoping to partner in this community “to bring those children inside.”

She said they serve families in a variety of configurations, even at some of their shelters, families with pets. They have 400 beds across King County in nighttime shelters, as well as day centers, in downtown and Aurora/130th (their “family center,” open to all of their shelter guests every day). The families are “in community,” sitting around tables together, in Kids Club together, “supporting each other,” she said. She said they partner with dozens of nonprofits to offer help, assistance, resources. “Our goal is that you will not spend all day looking for 10 diapers,” for example. “Most importantly, we are able to help intervene in the trauma that is going on now – it can take six months for families to get beds in shelter, and that is unacceptable to us.” They have counselors, they ensure kids are enrolled in school, and they try to alleviate crises. “There’s nothing too horrible, too yucky, too bad that’s happened to you that we can’t talk about. … The goal is, we’re going to move you in and out of Mary’s Place as soon as possible.” But they will first be checking on financial stability, for example. A third of the people they serve are refugees and immigrants, who don’t get assistance for as long as possible. They have employers who come in and even hire on site. They do background checks, sex-offender checks, screen out for Class A felonies, etc. She says they’re all about healing and help. “This is solvable. 650 families. The beds that would be available at this shelter would be life-saving.” She said all but 10 percent of their current funding is privately provided. She said they are always looking for “that next building” to use until somebody redevelops it. And she spoke about the importance of intervening with children and families.

One attendee who had been an outspoken critic of the original shelter plan, Joseph Benavides, voiced some continuing concerns including the intersection by 8th/108th not being sufficiently configured. “I love the plan, I love everything about it” otherwise, he said. Ellerbrook said they are talking with King County Roads about safety issues there.

Hartman reiterated that they have just come into the process and expect to be assisting about 25 people for starters.

And they are continuing to work on practicalities such as laundry and hygiene, just getting some folks inside this winter, and then continuing to work on the building. Mary’s Place staff will be there 24/7 and will have a round-the-clock on-call number. “We’re not perfect neighbors all the time … sometimes an aid car will pull up … six children were admitted to the hospital this week with respiratory problems … this week a lady’s water broke right in the lobby.”

But: “In every neighborhood we’ve been in, we’ve made the neighborhood better,” she declared. “Our parents are so big on keeping things safe for their kids … there’s nothing like a momma bear.” If there is something bothering neighbors, Mary’s Place wants to know, she said, adding that their curfew is 8:30 pm, lights out by 9, every day.

Ellenbrook said there will be a three-way agreement “between the county, Mary’s Place, and the community.” A community-work-group meeting “the week of the 15th” will work on it further. There also, Ellerbrook added, will be quarterly community meetings to talk about how things are going, what’s needed, and more.

“It’s really been a remarkable process,”said NHUAC vice president Barbara Dobkin, considering, as she pointed out, “nobody’s yelling here tonight” – in comparison to the emotions that ran high during the community meeting September 15th. “This is just a wonderful compromise that will work.” Benavides added. “The wholesomeness of this whole approach is what this community is all about.”

“I think they really listened,” NHUAC president Liz Giba said about the county reps who were at last month’s meeting (WCN coverage here), including department director Adrienne Quinn.

The discussion concluded with applause.

SEATTLE’S MYERS WAY ENCAMPMENT PLAN: This was discussed at two points in the meeting. Early on, during the community-announcements section, Gunner Scott of the Highland Park Action Committee community council spoke about the Seattle city announcement earlier in the day of a sanctioned encampment at the city-owned Myers Way Parcels (here’s the story on our partner site West Seattle Blog).

Scott said, “It’s probably a done deal but what we can do – working together- is probably, negotiate terms.” He said that City Councilmember Lisa Herbold has been invited to HPAC’s next meeting in January to talk about this as well as other things. He said that the city told him that Camp Second Chance – which has been at the site, without authorization, since summer – would likely be asked to stay as a self-managed encampment, possibly with some “religious organizations” that they’ve been working with. President Giba said that Seattle’s director of homelessness George Scarola told her that they believe about 20 people are living at CSC right now; the city’s plan for the site could more than double that. Later in the meeting, she said that she had spoken to him to ensure that NH would be included in discussions with community leaders. And she said he told her the city would be reaching out to some of the people living unsheltered along Myers Way, but not in the camp, to see if they would join it.

CRIME UPDATES: King County Sheriff’s Office storefront Deputy Bill Kennamer said “Car thefts are really high,” but almost everything else is down. “It’s unusual that you’d have this cluster of this many auto thefts – they’re usually taken as transportation. … Burglaries are really down a lot,” he added.

The local KCSO storefront is now in its new HQ at Steve Cox Memorial Park, announced months ago.

REMEMBERING DEPUTY COX: Giba noted that today (the day after the meeting) is the 10th anniversary of Deputy Cox’s murder on December 2, 2006. “He was a deputy, he was a leader, he was a good friend … he drew people in and tried to get you involved … he decided early on that I needed some mentoring, and he spent some hours trying to accomplish that.” He was also president of NHUAC at the time. She said she tried to get him to take that day off so he could go speak to the Seattle City Council, to tell them to “leave us alone” …but he said he had to work, and told them “you guys can handle it.” She observed, “I feel like that was the message he left to the whole community – ‘you guys can handle it’ – I feel like that’s what we have done.” One example, she said, was the way the shelter had worked out. “He loved kids, he was a new dad, I feel somewhere he is smiling.”

Others’ memories:

“He was an excellent human being.”
“He was a kind of person who just does things. He loved the community.”
“There are some really strong people lost in this community over the years … it’s really up to all of us to continue his legacy. .. We’re a community, we have to stick together, it’s only together that we can work on these issues … if we’re together, we’re powerful.”

The King County Sheriff’s Office will pay tribute to Deputy Cox and 15 others who died in the line of duty in the department’s history at a plaque dedication downtown this morning. WCN will be there.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Pat Price announced a survey that the King County Library System is conducting (we will add the link when we get it) … Bob Price announced a fundraising dinner Friday (December 9th) 5:30 pm at the White Center Eagles for Jubilee Days….Giba announced Rudy Garza‘s art exhibit tonight (Friday), 5-7 pm, at Dubsea Coffee in Greenbridge … Mark Johnston said King County is due out with its first “marijuana report” on potential retail-store sites soon….White Center Kiwanis and New Start Key Club will have the annual baked-potato dinner January 12th at the school, $15 for one ticket, $25 for two, $30 for a family. …

NHUAC BOARD RESIGNATIONS: Elizabeth Devine says work demands will require her to leave the NHUAC board. Also, since the last meeting, Dominic Barrera has resigned. So the board is looking for prospective new members – contact info is on the NHUAC website.

SUBSTANCE-ABUSE SURVEY: Former NHUAC board member Elizabeth Gordon brought a survey that’s ready for more community members’ participation. She’s representing a coalition that got a grant they’ll be working on next year, focusing on preventing substance abuse among middle-schoolers. She also had warm words for the community youth who had spoken in favor of a family homeless shelter replacing the county’s original idea for the Public Health building. The grant with which she and the coalition is working is from revenue generated by marijuana businesses in the area. We’ve featured the survey before – go here for the links if you haven’t answered it yet.

The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meets on the first Thursday of most months, 7 pm, at North Highline Fire District HQ – watch northhighlineuac.org for updates between meetings.

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WHITE CENTER SHELTER: County takes task force’s suggestion, changes plan to ‘family shelter’

November 30th, 2016 at 4:48 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | 7 Comments »

(WCN file photo of future shelter site)

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Two and a half months after that tumultuous meeting about a proposed shelter at the former King County Public Health building at 8th SW/SW 108th, the proposal has changed.

At the urging of a small community task force that was formed in the wake of that meeting, the county is now planning a “family shelter” for the space instead of a shelter for single adults and couples. The original plan drew sharp criticisms including its proximity to school and park facilities and the proposal for it to be “no-barrier.”

We just talked with the county’s point person, Housing and Community Development manager Mark Ellerbrook, who will be at tomorrow night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting to present a briefing about the new plan.

“The proposal to open it as an (adults-only) shelter is no longer on the table,” Ellerbrook confirmed. They’re also no longer planning to work with the Salvation Army, but instead, they expect the operator will be Mary’s Place, which already runs shelter space for families elsewhere in the region. (Its executive director will join Ellerbrook at the NHUAC meeting.)

Mary’s Place had toured the space “a couple times,” and gave a presentation at last night’s meeting of the task force.

This means a modification in the permit application for changing the building’s use, Ellerbrook said, and that means they’re not likely to be able to open the facility any sooner than January.

The shelter also likely will operate with fewer people than first planned; while they were discussing a capacity of 70 under the original plan, they’re now thinking more like 25 to 30 people, according to Ellerbrook. “Obviously we need more shelter for all populations across the county,” he said. “Countywide, 600 families are in need of shelter.” The prospective client base for the new White Center plan, he said, would be the families of Highline Public Schools student currently experiencing homelessness; as of the most recent county, that includes 36 families with 76 students.

What would the definition of family be in this context? we asked.

As discussed by Mary’s Place, Ellerbrook said, it could be a parent and child – that could include adult children – maybe a single parent, maybe a couple, maybe a multigenerational family. “We need to work through the details.” Mary’s Place has some families in its North Seattle shelter with up to eight members, he said.

While they were touring the site, he added, a family came by “and asked if the shelter was open yet.”

The first step toward this is the permit modification, as they are “trying to figure out” what will be needed, such as, potentially, hygiene facilities. They might open and continue making modifications while they’re already in operation, “so we could get it operating and see what tweaks need to be made.”

What would happen, we asked, to the other people in White Center that the county had planned to serve?

Ellerbrook said the new county budget has $6 million in funding for “two shelters in and around downtown for single adults, 24/7 shelters we were discussing, as the family shelter will now operate … as we do outreach to (people experiencing homelessness) in White Center,” they would hope to be able to point those people toward the future downtown shelters.

How much will the family-shelter plan cost? we asked. Ellerbrook says they don’t yet know what the county’s share of the cost would be and how much Mary’s Place might be able to operate.

Overall, he lauded “a good process (working with) the community at large to really identify the need and the issues in the community” resulting in this change of plans.

But bring your questions to tomorrow’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, 7 pm at North Highline Fire District HQ (1243 SW 112th). After that, Ellerbrook says, there will be a second community meeting about the new shelter proposal, but the date’s not yet set – “probably early January.”

BACKSTORY: NHUAC’s September meeting brought first public word of the planned shelter, though the county later acknowledged the plan had been in the works for months. The community task force that generated the family-shelter plan was created following the raucous-at-times September 15th community meeting.

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Child injured by hit-and-run driver, taken to hospital

November 28th, 2016 at 7:06 pm Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | No Comments »

Thank you for the tips about King County Sheriff’s Deputies blocking off 14th SW on the south side of Roxbury. We just went over to find out more. Investigators tell us this happened around 5:30 pm; a 12-year-old boy crossing the street was hit by a driver, who promptly got out and ran. The victim was taken to Harborview Medical Center; deputies are still looking for the driver, whose Honda CR-V (updated) has been towed. The intersection is expected to reopen soon.

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meets Thursday: Agenda includes shelter update, tribute to Deputy Steve Cox, more

November 28th, 2016 at 12:51 am Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news | 4 Comments »

From North Highline Unincorporated Area Council president Liz Giba, agenda highlights for this Thursday’s meeting (7 pm at North Highline Fire District HQ, 1243 SW 112th):

Please join North Highline’s volunteer community council at our December 1st meeting.

NHUAC aims to add opportunity to our community’s equation:

The Opportunity to Be Informed, Be Involved and Be Heard

Our past influences our present. Together they will impact our future. The death of King County Deputy Steve Cox on December 2, 2006 was a tremendous loss. At the time of his death, Steve was NHUAC’s president. Although he’s been gone for nearly 10 years, NHUAC strives to apply the lessons of Steve’s leadership, life, and legacy for a safer, healthier, and positive future for North Highline.

The King County Sheriff’s Office continues to partner with us toward our goals. Bill Kennamer, our White Center Storefront Deputy, will provide us, once again, with news and statistics from KCSO.

Betsy Howe, of Citizens Opposed to Onsite Septic System Management Washington, will tell us about COOM WA’s success in tabling King County’s “Turd Tax” on septic systems and its ongoing efforts.

King County’s plan to put a low-barrier homeless shelter for 70 adults in the old Public Health Building will be updated by a representative of King County’s Department of Community and Human Services.

Like homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse are regional problems that hit close to home. Last month, students from Cascade Middle School’s Prevention Team shared their concerns about the location of King County’s proposed low-barrier homeless shelter in a residential area, next door to a park, and near three schools. This month, Coalition for Drug Free Youth will provide us the opportunity to participate in a survey about our perceptions of drug and alcohol use and abuse among our youth.

We’ll close with a time to share memories and thoughts about community hero Steve Cox.

See you Thursday, December 1st at 7 PM – Bring a Friend!

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UPDATE: Fire takes out portable toilet at Steve Cox Memorial Park

November 23rd, 2016 at 12:59 pm Posted in Parks, Steve Cox Memorial Park, White Center news | No Comments »

12:59 PM: Thanks to Gill for the photo and report – he says this is all that’s left of a portable toilet by the Steve Cox Memorial Park tennis courts, after a fire last night. He talked with a King County Parks staffer who said no one was hurt. We have a message out to Parks to find out more, including whether it will be replaced.

1:30 PM: Parks spokesperson Doug Williams tells us, “A KCSO deputy was in the park when the fire occurred, so we had emergency responders there in short order. Not sure if it was arson, or if someone was smoking in it. We’ve seen evidence of that before. We’re expecting to have the burnt sani-can replaced by early next week. Until then, there’s one sani-can available to park users by the stadium.”

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Free pizza! Free drink! Find out more about White Center Kiwanis!

November 22nd, 2016 at 1:36 pm Posted in White Center Kiwanis Club, White Center news | No Comments »

White Center Kiwanis member Audrey Zemke shares the announcement:

Want to know more about Kiwanis? The White Center Kiwanis Club is having a social on Wednesday evening, November 30, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Proletariat Pizza (9622 16th Ave SW). Free pizza and one free libation per person. RSVP appreciated but not required to Bill Tracy at (206) 248-2441 or billnancytracy@aol.com.

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TONIGHT: Play bingo, help Holy Family Bilingual Catholic School

November 18th, 2016 at 12:33 pm Posted in Holy Family, How to Help, Schools, White Center news | Comments Off on TONIGHT: Play bingo, help Holy Family Bilingual Catholic School

You are invited! Holy Family Bilingual Catholic School welcomes everyone to Charlie Brown Bingo Night, 6-9 pm tonight in the school gym. HF says, “This is a great opportunity to help our school to buy resources while you are enjoying delicious food and winning great prizes.” The school is just north of the church, at 20th SW and SW Roxbury.

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OPINION: Proposed White Center shelter ‘an opportunity for collaboration and problem-solving,’ say county and city councilmembers

November 15th, 2016 at 2:17 pm Posted in White Center news | 12 Comments »

By King County Councilmember Joe McDermott
and
Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold
Special to White Center Now

There’s a lot of conflict and confusion around what to do about homelessness and how it can best be addressed. The debate has become polarizing for our region – let’s ensure it doesn’t become paralyzing. Many of our constituents express understandable frustration that people are camping in West Seattle, White Center, and elsewhere. There are also plenty of passionate voices who express compassion for people who experience homelessness.

But the biggest concerns seem to be in reaction to broken policies, not the people themselves. For the last few years, the City and County have heard from many residents that there are many people who are unsheltered in White Center. They ask that local government take necessary steps to ensure homelessness is a brief and one-time event.

We know we need resources to divert people from homelessness, resources to get people into housing quickly after becoming homeless, and resources to help re-stabilize families after experiencing homeless so they don’t become homeless again. For those living unsheltered, the need for low-barrier shelter is vital.

There are as many stories as there are people living unsheltered. No one is perfect, but many of the stereotypes of people who are homeless are simply that: stereotypes. As a community we must stop perpetuating the myth that people live unsheltered by choice. Most people we’ve talked to or heard about are not making a choice to live outside because they prefer it. Rather, it is because shelters are full, rental housing is unaffordable, and mental health and drug treatment services are unavailable. Those who are homeless are faced with a lack of real choices that can help people get and stay housed. And it falls to us, as a community, to provide them an opportunity for better choices.

It is incredibly disturbing to hear comments that repeat harmful stereotypes about the identity of people who are homeless, and the dangers that they pose to community safety. These comments have been made in response to not just the proposed shelter for White Center, but for those in other areas as well. This creates a sense of fear, and doesn’t allow us to have a productive conversation about how to address this situation.

The annual One Night Count last January confirmed more than 3,000 people living unsheltered, with over 100 of our neighbors counted sleeping outside in White Center in particular. There are very limited options for emergency shelter in this area, and new approaches and different policies might move some of these very same people to an indoor space. A current plan to open a shelter in White Center for people experiencing homelessness could fulfill the need for such a space.

The county’s Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) has proposed transforming a county-owned building, the site of the former Public Health clinic, into a temporary shelter for people experiencing homelessness. The original proposal included a 70-bed shelter facility that would be open from early evening through morning, to be located next to the White Center Food Bank. In response to community comments and the continuing engagement of a neighborhood workgroup, the proposal is being refined. We are especially supportive of efforts to work with clients to connect them with needed services, such as employment, health care, and permanent housing.

Long-term, this site is being considered as the future location of a community hub that can provide centralized access to needed services and permanent housing. However, it will be several years before such a development is realized. In the meantime, we have the opportunity to use this building, a public resource, to address one of the most pressing challenges facing our community.

We view this as an opportunity for collaboration and problem-solving between Seattle, King County, and the community. We appreciate that people have shared their perspectives on this strategy, from those with concerns to those expressing strong support. Working together, we must help people experiencing homelessness become more stable, because when they have some form of safe shelter, rather than sleeping outside in our neighborhoods, green belts, and on the sidewalk, they are able to secure housing more successfully. Providing low barrier shelter provides some improved stability for all. We have an obligation to act.

People are needlessly living unsheltered every day. We can and we must find more places where people can move out of the cold to a warm place where they can begin their journey to permanent housing. To those who say we must focus on long term solutions, we say we agree but no one should sleep outdoors, and we need solutions that will serve people today. Where can these people sleep this winter? And in the absence of a safe location, when we turn a blind eye to opportunities like the one in White Center, we risk making everyone’s situation worse — not better.

****
Councilmember Joe McDermott represents King County District 8, which includes White Center. Councilmember Lisa Herbold represents Seattle District 1, which includes neighboring West Seattle and South Park.

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Man injured in early morning White Center shooting

November 15th, 2016 at 11:22 am Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | 3 Comments »

From the King County Sheriff’s Office:

Just before 2 am, deputies responded to a shooting at 15th Ave SW/SW Roxbury St. They contacted a 40-year-old male with a gunshot wound. The victim was taken to Harborview Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Multiple shots were fired and the victim was hit at least once. The suspect is described as a male in dark colored clothing. The suspect is at large. We have no further information at this time.

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POWER OUTAGE: Almost 4,000 homes/businesses in Highline

November 12th, 2016 at 9:59 am Posted in utilities, White Center news | Comments Off on POWER OUTAGE: Almost 4,000 homes/businesses in Highline

9:59 AM: Most of this – but not all – is south of White Center: 3,868 homes/businesses have lost power in the greater Highline area. See the map here.

10:50 AM: Outage over, per SCL map. The wind advisory remains in effect through 3 pm, though.

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WHITE CENTER SHELTER: Updates including why the county is ruling out alternative sites

November 9th, 2016 at 6:44 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | Comments Off on WHITE CENTER SHELTER: Updates including why the county is ruling out alternative sites

Six days after our extensive update on the proposed White Center shelter, resulting from county official Adrienne Quinn‘s appearance at the November NHUAC meeting, there’s another update. This one comes via e-mail from the county:

King County continues to explore opening a homeless shelter at the former Public Health Clinic in White Center. Recent work has focused on evaluating alternative sites suggested by the local community. King County is also evaluating the community suggestion of using the site for a family shelter.

The first meeting of the work group was October 18. The work group will meet again the week of November 10 to discuss alternate site locations and the shelter model. King County representatives also recently attended the November 3 meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council.

The King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review is continuing to review the permit request.

The update points to the county website about the proposal – and that’s where you’ll find the new information, in response to questions raised, including at the NHUAC meeting:

*What about alternate sites? This document shows four sites that have been proposed and ruled out (and explains why).

*How many homeless people are in White Center? This document shows the 176 tallied during the One Night Count, with lower numbers from other sources.

*Definition of terms related to the shelter (enhanced, etc.).

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ELECTION 2016: Highline Public Schools bond measure passes

November 9th, 2016 at 9:24 am Posted in Education, Highline School District, White Center news | Comments Off on ELECTION 2016: Highline Public Schools bond measure passes

After two rounds of vote-counting last night, it appears the Highline Public Schools bond is passing. It has 65 percent approval – at least 60 percent is required – and more than the minimum number of votes:

Approved – 19,696 – 65%
Rejected – 10,552 – 35%

Details of the bond are here.

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VIDEO: White Center shelter plan might change, Steve Cox Memorial Park’s field will change, & more @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

November 3rd, 2016 at 9:09 pm Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news | 1 Comment »

(WCN photos and video)

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Another intense meeting for the White Center area’s community council, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council:

ADRIENNE QUINN: The director of King County’s Community and Human Services department, ultimately accountable for the proposal to set up a shelter in the former Public Health building at 8th and 108th, faced a full house. She said she wanted to talk about the original proposal and “where we are now” with it.

She said there are “a lot of misunderstandings about who people who are who are homeless…. The #1 reason for people under 25 are that they are gay, lesbian, transgender, thrown out of their homes … the #2 reason (for people under 25 to be homeless) is that they have been in foster care and have been thrown out of their homes … For women and families, the primary reason people become homeless is domestic violence, fleeing dangerous situations, their credit has been ruined, it’s difficult for them to get an apartment. … For adult men, right now, 31% are veterans over the age of 55 … another reason is untreated mental (illness). … 1 in 4 people (in general) have an untreated mental disorder … if you are homeless, you don’t have a place to carry your medication, you may not have a doctor, but if we are able to bring people inside, we can stabilize them … There’s a lot of discussion about crime and homelessness. People who are homeless are much more likely to be victims of crime than to (commit crime).”

She mentioned the 100 unsheltered people found in the White Center area during the most-recent One Night Count.”We have heard for many years, do something about the people who are homeless … So King County has been looking all over the county, looking for any available resource … to bring people inside … to help them get back on track. We identified the WC Public Health Clinic, several other buildings around the county, one in Kenmore, one in Bellevue … we began to explore that this spring …” She went on to describe why the building in WC seemed suitable, “to bring a shelter to WC to help people who are here right now, to work on case management, to try to stabilize them, to help people move through shelter in 30 days.” She said studies from around the country have shown that can be successful. And she pointed out that “many people who are homeless actually work” and need someplace to leave their belongings.

“We are continuing in exploration mode,” Quinn said, saying (this section of her speech is in the video clip above) that they are exploring the possibility of the shelter starting with a small population, being offered to families – if there are enough homeless families in this area – instead of the previously planned singles/couples, and being open 24/7 so that there would not be a daily discharge of people onto the street. She also said the small group that met two weeks ago for a discussion of this would meet again one week from tonight.

Opening Q/A, NHUAC president Liz Giba said that the concentration of poverty in White Center remains a concern. Quinn said that they are trying to help homeless people in WC to alleviate that.

Next, an attendee who lives in the area accused Quinn of lying and putting a “spin” on things. He claimed the plan has been in place since last November; she said that wasn’t true. He said they have a public-records request in for information, and that an online petition has collected 1,000 signatures, and that there’s crowdfunding to bankroll the records request. “You picked the wrong location …we’re going to get to the bottom of this.” He talked about problems happening in the park and near the clinic right now; Quinn said that getting people indoors would be the remedy for that.

NHUAC vice president Barbara Dobkin said she is concerned that more homeless people are turning up in White Center because they are being “pushed out of Seattle.” She cited situations such as the West Seattle Junction bus-shelter closure plan.

In other questions, she tried to clarify the “no-barrier” concept – not necessarily that people are going to be allowed in to shoot up, but that “if they have a little alcohol on their breath, we’re not going to turn them away.” She also said this would not be like the “navigation center” that Seattle is considering.

Another attendee brought up some contradictions in what Quinn was saying here and what they heard at the September 15th meeting. She noted that the shouting at that meeting was unsettling to some of the people at that meeting. (One thing that emerged – they’re looking at “portable showers” for the building, which otherwise was described as not being set up for shelter stayers to be able to take showers.)

One attendee said she had heard about what was recommended for helping ease Seattle’s homelessness problem; Quinn said that the county and city had declared an emergency to try to get the federal and state governments to help.

Another attendee challenged the contention that White Center had 100 people unsheltered during the One-Night Count, saying law enforcers had told them they had seen far fewer. Quinn tried to draw a distinction between people who are visibly homeless and those living in vehicles. She was asked why the people on the street aren’t getting help now; she said that outreach is being done.

Asked about shelters in residential areas, near schools, Quinn pointed to Our Lady of Guadalupe in West Seattle, which hosts a shelter. Small population, though, she acknowledged on followup.

Many of the questions and concerns voiced had to do with discrepancies between numbers cited in previous communications/meetings and what was being said here. Seattle displacement was cited, and at one point, Quinn said, “That’s a city of Seattle issue.” But she acknowledged the county is having issues too – she said she had heard from people in mobile-home parks who were getting forced out, too. Quinn added that her department is working with the King County Housing Authority, giving them a line of credit to “preserve at least 2,000 units” of affordable housing. They’ve bought four apartment buildings, she said.

She was also pressed on a variety of points about the county’s shelter operations. How many buildings? More than 70. How many people? About 2,000.

NHUAC board member Christine Waldman said a list of possible alternative locations was provided to the county and “there’s got to be someplace else that this can go.” Quinn said they are “looking at facilities that are safe to be inside right now … some are so rundown as to not be safe.”

NHUAC board member Elizabeth Gordon said the shelter plan needs to be viewed through an equity/justice lens for this community; Quinn had mentioned that they were using a more-regional assessment for that kind of information. Giba reinforced the point a few minutes later, and also addressed it to King County Council chair Joe McDermott, who was in attendance but did not speak.

Quinn was asked who is involved in the “core group” that will meet again next week – “15 or so people,” including three from NHUAC, “to really talk about, get into more detail about a lot of these issues people are talking about” in relation to this, including safety. She said that the work group’s eventual goal is to “come back to a larger community meeting” (as promised in the September public meeting), before year’s end.

One of the last comments to her was, “Don’t force us to read between the lines. Be radically transparent with us.”

CASCADE MIDDLE SCHOOL PREVENTION TEAM: Before Quinn spoke, three students and their adviser (from a team of about 20 students) spoke to the meeting, saying they have been doing cleanup work in Dick Thurnau Memorial Park and are concerned about the possible shelter being near the park and their school.

The students read statements they had written, and their adviser showed petitions that they had circulated, saying they collected more than 120 signatures. We recorded them on video – see and hear for yourself above. (During Adrienne Quinn’s time at the front of the room, NHUAC board member Elizabeth Gordon got Quinn to commit to following up on the students’ request for someone from the county to come speak with them.)

STEVE COX MEMORIAL PARK FIELD RENOVATION PROJECT: King County Parks reps Frana Milan and Tri Ong talked about this, saying it’s “just getting rolling” – improvements to “the fields outside of the stadium” – Fields 2 and 3, “currently underutilized.” They’re intended for youth baseball, but “frequently not even usable for the amount of use scheduled there, because of drainage problems.” Milan said there’s a higher demand, not just for traditional sports but also Ultimate Frisbee and lacrosse. She said 75 people were surveyed over the summer, and 40 percent of them use the fields in question for pickup sports. What would make it a great park? they asked. As a result of the replies, they’re trying to design the fields to serve local use, diversify possible uses, expand playable hours, and enhance public safety. Milan showed a rough design:

And she showed Walt Hundley Playfield in West Seattle as an example of “what we’re thinking about.” Synthetic turf is being considered, as are lining for multiple sports, a natural-surface walking path, new backstops, lighting around the perimeter, and access to the restrooms that face the stadium, so they could be accessed from the side of the field. Of those, survey respondents supported restroom access, lighting, and a walking path most strongly. With design under way, it should reach 90 percent in a year, then be built in spring/summer of 2018, concluded by fall of that year. The King County Parks budget already has $1.7 million allotted for this and is hoping for $1.6 million more in the current budget. Attendee questions asked mostly about funding and possible other sources for it. Separate from this project, the stadium is getting a new roof soon, said Ong, and parking-lot repaving is expected to happen next spring, along with ADA-compliant curb ramps.

One point of interest that emerged while attendees were asking questions: Jubilee Days would not be able to use Steve Cox for fireworks shows once these changes are made.

RESIGNATION: Gordon said she is no longer working in the unincorporated area so she needs to resign from the NHUAC board, and urged anyone interested in “positive community engagement” to get involved. President Giba led a round of applause, saying that Gordon has “been awesome.”

COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENTS: NHUAC board member Pat Price announced plans for a Festivus celebration on Friday, Dec. 9, at White Center Eagles, dinner/auction, and the White Center Library Guild‘s book sale/holiday sale 11 am-4 pm Friday and Saturday (November 4-5) at the library … The White Center Kiwanis will have a meet-and-greet November 30th at Proletariat Pizza, 6:30 pm – “free pizza, and come see what we’re about” … The Kiwanis’s candy-bar sale, $2.50 for See’s bars, continues … Mark Johnston talked about the marijuana laws and said one licensee in the Top Hat area is looking to move to Federal Way.

The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meets first Thursdays at 7 pm at NH Fire District HQ.

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THURSDAY: West Seattle Montessori/Academy open house

November 2nd, 2016 at 10:56 pm Posted in Education, Schools, White Center news | Comments Off on THURSDAY: West Seattle Montessori/Academy open house

Looking for school(s) for next year? Thursday night brings a chance to find out more about West Seattle Montessori School and Academy in White Center. From 6 to 7:30 pm, the open house “gives parents and prospective families a chance to meet our staff, teachers and tour the facilities. You’ll be able to view samples of student work and pick up application materials. Our teachers and staff are available during and after the Open House to answer questions.” WSMS & WMA are at 11215 15th SW.

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Memorial for fallen deputies: Sheriff’s Office searching for family members

November 1st, 2016 at 4:04 pm Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | Comments Off on Memorial for fallen deputies: Sheriff’s Office searching for family members

From the King County Sheriff’s Office, as they prepare to dedicate a memorial to fallen deputies, including White Center’s Deputy Steve Cox:

The King County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help locating any and all family members of King County Sheriff’s Deputies who have fallen in the line of duty. The Sheriff’s Office is dedicating a memorial to the 16 deputies who have been killed in the line of duty since the county was created in 1852.

The Sheriff’s Office will be dedicating a memorial to the deputies at 10 am on December 2nd at the King County Courthouse and would like family members of the fallen deputies to be present during the historic unveiling. If you are a family member or relative of one of these fallen deputies please contact Captain Greg Thomas at Greg.Thomas@kingcounty.gov

The fallen Deputies are (in alphabetical order);

Deputy Donald A. Armeni
End of watch
September 15, 1954

Deputy Mark William Brown
End of Watch
February 27, 1999

Deputy William G. Cherry
End of Watch
March 6, 1853

Deputy Richard S. Cochran II
End of watch
May 22, 1991

Deputy Steve E. Cox
End of Watch
December 2, 2006

Deputy Richard Anthony Herzog
End of Watch
June 22, 2002

Detective Sergeant Samuel A. Hicks
End of watch
June 24, 1982

Deputy Thomas Meehan
End of watch
November 13, 1935

Deputy George Poor
End of Watch
July 26, 1891

Detective Michael L. Raburn
End of watch
March 27, 1984

Deputy Robert Carl Scott
End of Watch
April 4, 1920

Deputy Norman F. Silkworth
End of Watch
March 7, 1952

Special Deputy Steve Watson
End of Watch
July 9, 1934

Deputy John Williams
End of watch
March 18, 1903

Sheriff Louis V. Wyckoff
End of watch
January 20, 1882

Deputy Posseman Cornelius Rowley
End of Watch
July 4, 1902

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UPDATE: Crash investigation at 8th/Roxbury after deputy hits pedestrian

October 31st, 2016 at 6:10 pm Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | 1 Comment »

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6:10 PM: 8th/Roxbury will be at least partially blocked for a few hours because of a crash investigation. A King County Sheriff’s Deputy hit a man who was walking across the street, according to KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West. While the man’s injuries are not believed to be major, he’s been taken to Harborview Medical Center, and because a deputy was involved, KCSO’s major-crash investigators are coming to the scene, and their work usually takes a few hours. Our crew says westbound traffic on Roxbury is completely blocked, while one eastbound lane was open, and some southbound traffic on 8th was also getting through. We probably won’t know more about the circumstances until tomorrow.

9:27 PM: Couldn’t get back to check until now, but in case you were wondering, the intersection is completely clear.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Sgt. West says the 65-year-old man who was hit was not in the hospital for long and was released last night. Here’s how they believe it happened: “The deputy was northbound on 8 Ave SW and was stopped at the red light at Roxbury. When the light turned green he waited for traffic to clear so he could make a left turn to go westbound on Roxbury. The pedestrian was in the cross walk on the west side of the intersection crossing from south to north. The man had just reached the first westbound lane when he was hit by the bumper of the police vehicle making the left turn. The northbound light was green and the status of the pedestrian crossing light is unknown.”

She says the deputy was in an unmarked SUV and was estimated to have been going 10 mph or less when he hit the pedestrian.

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Parks in the spotlight @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting Thursday

October 30th, 2016 at 5:40 pm Posted in North Highline UAC, Parks, White Center news | Comments Off on Parks in the spotlight @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting Thursday

From the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, here’s what’s ahead for the November meeting this Thursday:

November 3, 2016 at 7 pm
North Highline Fire Station at 1243 SW 112th Street in White Center

(Parking and Entrance are in the Back of the Station)

Please join North Highline’s volunteer community council at our November 3rd meeting.

NHUAC aims to add opportunity to our community’s equation: The Opportunity to Be Informed, Be Involved and Be Heard.

Neighborhood parks will be front and center in this month’s meeting. Our White Center Storefront Deputy, Bill Kennamer, will provide updates on the storefront’s move to Steve Cox Memorial Park, crime stats, and other news from the King County Sheriff’s Office.

More news about Steve Cox Memorial Park will be brought to us by Frana Milan and Tri Ong of King County Parks. Frana and Tri will share plans to improve the park and ask for input on how the project can best meet community needs and address concerns related to the athletic field improvements.

Adrienne Quinn, Director of King County’s Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS), will update us on King County’s plan to put a low-barrier homeless shelter for 70 adults in the old Public Health Building (next to the Food Bank and Dick Thurnau Memorial Park).

Our special guests will be members of Cascade Middle School’s Prevention Team. The Prevention Team is passionate about preventing drug and alcohol use among youth in our community, supports causes that promote positive community norms, and participates in a variety of community service events. The Prevention Team’s projects have included cleaning up Dick Thurnau Memorial Park. NHUAC is pleased to provide a forum where these inspiring students’ voices can be heard in North Highline. Help us welcome them this Thursday at 7 pm!

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TRAFFIC ALERT: Crash on Olson Place

October 26th, 2016 at 4:15 pm Posted in safety, west seattle, White Center news | Comments Off on TRAFFIC ALERT: Crash on Olson Place

Thanks to everyone who has been updating us on this crash on Olson Place, east of Roxbury. No injuries, apparently, as Seattle Fire has not been dispatched, but most recently, we are told, it is blocking one lane each way.

The vehicle that spun out is reported to have hit a tree.

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SURVEY: The Coalition for Drug-Free Youth needs a few minutes of your time

October 26th, 2016 at 12:18 am Posted in Health, Online, White Center news | Comments Off on SURVEY: The Coalition for Drug-Free Youth needs a few minutes of your time

Can you spare a few minutes? If you’re 18 or older, this survey is for you:

The Coalition for Drug-Free Youth – a community-based alcohol, tobacco, and drug prevention organization – is conducting a short community survey. This survey asks about one’s perceptions of drug and alcohol use and abuse in youth and in the community. The data from these surveys will be used to implement evidence-based prevention programs in middle and high schools in the community.

Adults ages 18 and over, who live, work or frequent the North Highline and Burien areas are eligible to take this survey. Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey!

Survey link (English): surveymonkey.com/r/KIWHON2016

Survey link (Español) es.surveymonkey.com/r/KIWHSP2016

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